If you are moving to New York City for work or school and are planning on using a realtor to find an apartment, you are on the right track. The city is notoriously hard to rent in. Many landlords deal only with realtors, and the places you see advertised on places like Craigslist or other sites can often be bait-and-switch. So, to avoid that problem you are correct to use a real estate company with a professional realtor. However, you should go in with some prerequisites. This list of three things to tell your realtor will save you a lot of time seeing places that are not what you want, and which might end up being a nightmare should you end up signing the lease.
Skip The "Pre-War" Trap And Go For A New Construction
Many people idealize the idea of a cool, pre-war NYC apartment. They tend to be bigger than other apartments, but they do have some downsides. First, they often don't have elevators. Unless the building was retrofitted with an elevator, you will have to walk up to your apartment.
Secondly, and more of an issue, there's the noise problem. This goes not just for pre-war apartment buildings, but all brick and wood-frame apartments in the city (most of the rent-stabilized housing stock). These materials were the common materials for many years, and while they look really cool from the exterior, they have a major downside: noise. You might end up living underneath someone who plays loud music all night. Yes, you can call 311 and make a complaint, but the NYPD is flooded with noise complaints, and they are not likely to be able to do much. So, you should tell your realtor to choose a new construction, one that is a concrete building, not brick and timber. The concrete floors don't allow noise to travel as easily as wood does.
Find An Alcove--It Means More Space
You are probably looking for a studio because you are on a budget, but understand that there are some studios that are larger than others. In NYC, especially in Manhattan, you will find super tiny studios. These can be really tight and uncomfortable if you come from an area where space is not at such a premium. However, if you look at the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx) or northern Manhattan (Inwood and Washington Heights), you will find many larger studios. The particular type of studio you should ask your realtor to look for is called an alcove studio. It has a design that includes an L-shaped room. The small alcove space is used for the bed and creates a visually distinct sleeping space.
Get A Live-in Super At A Minimum
No matter what type of place you rent, make sure there is a live-in super on the premise. You don't want to have to deal with a leaky sink in the middle of the night or a radiator that suddenly starts steaming all over your space. A live-in super will be on the premises and they will be able to deal with any problem, day or night. It's very common in NYC apartments to have live-in supers. Some places also have security guards, front desk managers, and other attendants. However, at the minimum make sure the realtor knows you want there to be a live-in superintendent.